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Interpersonal relationships

To try and counter-act this study Duck (1995) explained that the research into matching hypothesis theory is limited because it only looks at the initial meeting between two people and does not take into consideration a studies over a long period of time. There is a lack of research into how the relationships have progressed after this study, with little or no follow up. The research is based around college students so fails to take into account how relationships formed in different cultures or age ranges.

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We perceive physical attractiveness with more positive personality traits (Dion et al 1972 the attractiveness stereotype) when showing male participants photographs of attractive people, compared with unattractive people, the subjects were consistently credited with more desirable qualities like responsive, kind, warm and professionally successful. However (Dermer and Theil, 1975) found that extremely attractive women were judged by female participants to be egotistic, vain, materialistic and less likely to succeed professionally.

This could suggest that males value physical attractiveness as being intrinsic in selecting a partner, and females value it less. A study done by (Speed & Gangestad, 1997) contradicts this argument by suggesting female’s value physical attraction more than males. From a young age we value physical attraction, as beautiful people tend to receive more social attention. Images in the media also confirm this, by using more attractive people as actors or actresses therefore we use them as role models.

To hypothesise this we can refer to the self-fulfilling prophecy. The way we treat people affects how they behave and ultimately how they perceive themselves but can a normal person behave like an attractive one through the self-fulfilling prophecy?. An important determinant of interpersonal attraction is similarity. We are attracted to people with whom we share the same point of view. And research has shown that the more we have in common with someone the more successful our relationships with people will be.

If we show any dissimilarity it can cause conflict within that relationship, the dissimilar-repulsion effect (Rosenbaum, 1986). This could also be common with reciprocal liking Aronson (1980) stated that attraction is based on similarities or a shared interest or beliefs. This is attributed to the belief that when a person is in agreement with us, they are providing us with the reward of reinforcement, therefore leading to self-confidence, vanity and reciprocal liking. A famous study to determine this was devised by (Byrne 1961) titled the “Bogus Stranger Study.

This study tested the hypothesis from the self-expansion model that the usual effect of greater attraction to a similar (vs. dissimilar) stranger will be reduced or reversed when a person is given information that a relationship would be likely to develop. He gave each participant an attitude questionnaire, and then showed them one that had been completed by a stranger. The questionnaire filled out by the stranger was correlated in varying degrees with the participant’s answers (20%, 65%, & 80%).

The participants liked the stranger more when their views were correlated to fit theirs. However Aronson and Worchel (1966) found the usual similarity effect in the Byrne experiment was eliminated when participants were led to believe that the other person liked them before completing the questionnaire. Therefore increasing the anticipation of forming a relationship, so that similarity provided little, or any additional reason to expect that a relationship was possible.


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